Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Wooo HOOO, ShoSho! The Great Kuwait Market Magic Challenge

Watch out! Ya’ll have some serious competition! ShoSho sent these in, and she blew me out of the water. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wait till you see:

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How does she do it? Look at those colors, look how saturated they are!

My friends, I remind you, the deadline in January 31st. You still have this one week to get your entries in.

I am heartened by the number of cameras I see down in the market – whether you enter or not, you are down there, taking photos and enjoying the sights and sounds and smells and tastes of a Kuwait national treasure.

Even the way the vegetables and fish are arranged shows artistry and an eye for beauty and composition. Look how ShoSho captures the colors and textures of the Sadu woven goods and carpets. Wow. Wow. Wow.

Send your photos to Intlxpatr@aol.com. If you send them, I will print them. 🙂

(ShoSho, you set a very high standard to beat!)

January 24, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Community, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Photos, Shopping | , , | 7 Comments

Al Fresco in Kuwait

I have had several requests to know what we were eating when we eat in the open courtyard at the Mubarakiya. You Kuwaitis can skip this entry; to you this is not exciting or exotic. To my stateside, European and African readers, this is how it goes:

As soon as you are seated, the waiter brings a little charcoal stove to the table with a steaming hot pot of tea. There is a row of restaurants behind you, one of which has huge gold colored pots of tea brewing at all times. Our Kuwaiti friends tell us that the reason the tea is so strong is that they never wash the pots, just keep brewing tea in them. The tea is STRONG, served in tiny glasses on saucers, and is usually drunk with a good amount of sugar.

Then a plate of greens and onions arrive. The greens taste a lot like basil, very licorice-y, but they don’t look like basil.

You order. We don’t always have the same thing, but what you are seeing here is an order of shish ta-ook (chicken chunks, marinated and grilled, served on a skewer), fresh bread (comes with every order) tabouli ( a salad made mostly of chopped parsley and lemon), muttabel (a salad/dip made of roasted eggplant, tahina and olive oil), roasted lamb with rice, and a sauce made of okra, with a great big ball in it that is some kind of spice we don’t usually use, but enjoy in this sauce.

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There are people at all the surrounding tables; usually one adult comes first, or maybe two, and tables get moved together or apart, depending on the size of the family coming. Then more women come drifting in, laden with shopping bags. They all greet one another and sit, and finally when the food comes, the children show up, eat a few bites, and then are up playing while the adults finish and drink their tea.

Adventure Man has a little black cat friend who likes the fatty pieces of the lamb he doesn’t eat. When he is finished with one offering, he will pat AM’s leg with his little paw, and AM will give him another piece. This is not a skinny, scrawney little cat, but a plump little cat with shiny fur. Guess he gets enough to eat!

At some point during your meal, you will hear the call to prayer, which we like even better now that we know that the muezzins (the ones who do the call to prayer) are all live, not recorded.

A lavish meal for four – more food than you can eat – with tea, and with excellent service, comes to around 8KD – around $30. How is that for a night on the town?

October 28, 2007 Posted by | Community, Cooking, Cross Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Living Conditions | , , | 13 Comments

More Mubarakiya Art

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I think this is a total hoot! Along with the Pacific Coast scenery and fish, we have a Swiss Cow, with a bell, and Alpine scenery.

Here is one I love, a genuine Kuwaiti butcher – I love the glasses! Faces and hands are hard to do, and this artist caught his individuality. I wonder if he is still in one of the smaller meat market shops? Also note the bloodstains on the cutting table!

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And here is a treasure, just outside the older section, near the date souk, badly damaged, and someone has strung a power cord across it, but one of the best pieces in the market. Love the colors, and look at the stone entry – the artist truly captured the feeling of stone. Look at the depths in the door and the window, the shadows and highlights. Look at the folds in the men’s thobes. This artist had some training.

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October 28, 2007 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Photos, Public Art, Shopping | , | 6 Comments

Mubarakiya Evening

The weather has definitely cooled. We grab out friends and head for one of our very favorite places, the Mubarakiya market downtown, one of the few places still in existence with a flavor of old Kuwait.

We’ve visited in recent months, but the heat defeated us. Last night, our closest 4,000 friends were down there with us, shopping in the markets, having a bite to eat in the outdoor restaurant area (you can only tell which restaurants are which by the different colors of the chairs and tables) relaxing, visiting, just enjoying a beautiful mild weekend evening.

And it was beautful. We have eaten there in the heat, with cooling fans to keep things bearable, we have eaten there in the cold of winter, with little stoves on the table to keep the tea hot and to warm our hands (a little) but this night was utterly perfect. Warm enough, cool enough, and fresh, well prepared local food – it was a perfect evening.

Some new Mubarakiya photos:

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October 26, 2007 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Community, Customer Service, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Photos, Shopping, Travel | , , | 10 Comments